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News

Gender differences in esophageal acid exposure and GERD

Females without reflux symptoms or GERD have less distal esophageal acid exposure than males without reflux symptoms or GERD, reports the latest issue of the Diseases of the Esophagus.

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Ambulatory 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring is the gold standard examination to assess esophageal acid exposure.

Gender-related variation is a well-recognized physiologic phenomenon in health and disease.

Dr Vega and colleagues reported that to date, limited gender-specific 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring data are available.

The research team obtained values of esophageal pH monitoring in males and females without reflux symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease to determine if gender variation exists in esophageal acid exposure among individuals without these factors.

The research team assessed 24-hour dual esophageal pH monitoring in male and female volunteers without reflux symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Values for total number of reflux episodes, episodes longer than 5 minutes, total reflux time in minutes, % time with pH below 4, and longest reflux episode in the proximal/distal esophagus were obtained and recorded for both groups.

The team of doctors noted that the distal channel was placed 5 cm and proximal channel 15 cm above the manometrically determined lower esophageal sphincter.

There was no age or body mass difference between groups
Diseases of the Esophagus

The researchers enrolled 67 males, and 69 females.

All subjects completed esophageal 24-hour pH monitoring without difficulty.

The doctors reported that there was no age or body mass difference between groups.

Females had significantly fewer reflux episodes at both esophageal measuring sites and, significantly less total reflux time and % time with pH below 4 in the distal esophagus than males.

All other parameters were similar.

Dr Vega's team commented "Significant gender-related differences exist in esophageal acid exposure, especially in the distal esophagus in individuals without reflux symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease."

"These differences underscore the need for gender-specific reference values for 24-hour pH monitoring, allowing for an accurate evaluation of esophageal acid exposure in symptomatic patients."

Dis Esophagus 2013: 26(3): 246-249
05 April 2013

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